Note: This review is from the 2023 Fringe

Breaking Open is a powerful one-woman play that delves into the life of Oskar Saville, once the lead singer of the multi-platinum band, 10,000 Maniacs. Despite the modest audience turnout, including her supportive teenage kids wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the words ‘Come See My Mama’s Show’, Saville’s compelling storytelling draws us into her journey of self-discovery and courage.

The show opens with a touch of first-morning nerves as Saville stumbles over her lines, but she quickly recovers with the help of her director/tech. From that moment on, her performance is nothing short of captivating. Throughout her life, she has experienced psychic tendencies and, ‘heard voices’. But it’s one voice, an inner calling, that compels her to leave her marriage.

The narrative unfolds as Saville reflects on her decision to step away from her flourishing music career to salvage her marriage, believing it would provide her children with the family life she never had. However, fate had other plans for her. As she stows away toilet paper in the closet, the voice urges her to leave her husband, setting her on a path of self-discovery.

We are taken on an emotional journey as Saville finds the strength to leave her marriage and becomes a single parent to her three children. Throughout her struggle, she grapples with the sacrifice of her music career. Yet, her journey leads to a remarkable realisation: by breaking free from the confines of her ‘fairy tale’ marriage, she rediscovers her voice, and in doing so, finds the true meaning of family.

Oskar Saville’s ability to narrate her life’s story is truly captivating. Her performance evokes sympathy and empathy, touching the hearts of the audience, and leaving some with tears in their eyes. Like the well-loved T-shirt she wears throughout the show, Saville appears invincible as she bares her soul on stage.

Like Oskar, Breaking Open is a show that deserves a little bit of love from the Fringe audience. It is a heartfelt and moving experience that resonates long after the curtains close. Whether you are a fan of her music career or simply appreciate authentic storytelling, this show will leave you moved and inspired. Catch it while you can during its limited run.

Breaking Open runs until Sat 12 Aug 2023 at theSpace@Surgeons Hall at 10:45